Yesterday, Latvian Radio asked Environment Minister Juris Pūce (Development/For!) for his opinion on the survey, to which he replied: "Did it take place? Did a referendum really take place in Crimea?"
"I would like to venture a different answer. We have prepared a large-scale public debate. All Latvian residents will have the chance to voice their opinion, their initiatives and suggestions over organizing a better municipal map and territory. I would like to invite all Ikšķile residents to partake in this public debate and put forth their suggestions and initiatives on how to organize the work. We all share this country and we have to create the best possible administrative-territorial map. Ikšķile locals have to participate too," he said.
He said that most municipalities that want to find out the residents' opinion are to hold legal public debates, surveys or gatherings to that effect. "Not all the municipalities have acted in due fashion. That is sad, of course," he said.
Pūce later clarified that he mentioned Crimea in the context of the administrative-territorial reform as a joke.
The administrative-territorial reform project envisages the creation of 35 local government regions centered on towns and cities rather than the more dispersed model currently in operation.
Under the current project, Ikšķile Municipality would be merged with the nearby Ogre Municipality.
While most participants of a municipal survey in Ikšķile voted against the proposed reform, less than half of its ca. 7,000 inhabitants participated.